While we’ve all heard about digital tools like HootSuite and Google Analytics, some of us may be overlooking other tools that could help streamline some of our work processes and point the way to increased effectiveness.
I decided to try a bunch of tools that I’d heard about from various sources. I’ve added the tool’s purpose or my recommendation for use in parentheses beside the name. I may add to this list as time goes on, but I hope you’ll find something you’ll like among the 10 resources listed here:
1. Buzzsumo (ideation/competitive intelligence)
Type a keyword into the free version of Buzzsumo and the tool will give you a list of the popular blog posts on the subject within the last year. You can change the search filter to the past six months on down to the past 24 hours. The results also break down the number of times a particular post was shared via popular social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
I typed in B2B Technology, which is a pretty general term, but I wanted to see what it’d come up with. I got a mix of news and marketing posts.
2. Feedly (content curation/reading)
I visit certain blogs and websites to find additional content I can share via my social media accounts and this news aggregator will make it so that I don’t have to visit each one separately. So far, I’ve been able to add all of the sites I want with only a couple of exceptions (e.g., B2Community and DigitalNext). The sites are gathered in a Marketing collection, and the left sidebar shows me a list of their logos/icons.
I can click on each icon to see the latest posts from that site. This easy access should shave significant time off my reading and curating.
3. Hemingway (editing)
It’s said that the average American adult reads at a ninth grade level. That might not relate to your audience, but with this tool, you’ll see if your writing’s too wordy or complex. Paste your text over the text that’s fully or partially highlighted. In Edit mode, Hemingway will apply that same color-coded highlighting to show what could be simplified and how (the color code is on the right side). In some cases, it even provides alternative wording suggestions when you move your cursor over your text. You’ll also see the minimum grade level that would have been able to read your text easily.
My only complaint is that the Edit mode makes it rather hard to read my text. However, once you switch to Write mode, everything clears up. If you decide to make the changes right there in the tool, you may find yourself switching back and forth between modes to see the tool’s critiques.
4. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator (ideation)
This is a handy tool if you’re stuck for ideas. Type terms (preferably nouns) that you’d like to write about into the three fields, and within seconds, it’ll give you five days’ worth of possible blog post titles. For example, I typed in content marketing, writers, and white papers to see how it handled two-word terms.
Here’s what it gave back. I particularly like idea #4 and idea #2 also has possibilities. On the other hand, I don’t think #1 will have many takers. As you can see you, might have to tweak the titles a little or play with the different terms to find something you like.
5. Hubspot’s Marketing Grader (website and blog analysis)
This is my favorite discovery so far even though my blog didn’t do as well as I’d like. You type in the URL for your website and Marketing Grader gives you an overall grade and then breaks down its performance by the categories of blogging, social media, SEO, lead generation and mobile.
The performance breakdown includes things you should be doing (called “checklist items”). According to the report, I have three incomplete checklist items across two categories, so I count myself lucky to have received a score that’s basically a C grade. That stings a little, but on the upside, my blog posts are getting more social media attention than I expected. Plus, now I know what I have to do to improve my site’s performance.
6. Quicksprout (website analysis)
You may have heard of QuickSprout, but I’m including it here just in case. This tool allows you to analyze how well your website is doing in terms of SEO, page loading speed, etc. And you can see how your competitors compare.
For example, I ran my home page URL as well as the web address of one of my blog posts through the tool. My home page got an SEO grade of D+ but the blog post got a B. I saved the report for my home page to go over with my web developer, especially since a competitor’s home page got a score of B-. Obviously, I have work to do.
7. Readability Test Tool (editing)
With this tool, you can test the readability of your web pages or paste text into the direct input box. Personally, I prefer Readability to Hemingway; it uses color-coded indicator bars that represent various readability indices like Flesch Kincaid to show you how easy or challenging your text is. It’s less hands on, but it still lets you know if you need to simplify your text.
8. Simply Measured (social media analysis)
As you can see from the image, Simply Measured offers an array of free analysis tools for the various social media platforms. Since I’ve been primarily active on Twitter, I chose that tool. I agreed to follow Simply Measured and I had to complete a short contact form so that they could email the report to me.
This tool took a little longer than the others; instead of giving me results in a matter of seconds, it took a few minutes for the report to appear in my inbox. The emailed report is actually just a link to a web page, but you can also download the page to Excel. The report covers the previous week (Sunday through Saturday), and you’ll be able to see the different groups that comprise your Twitter followers and identify the people with the most influence/followers.
9. Swayy (content discovery/curation)
Swayy is a content curation tool that lets you share content on your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts. The free version provides you with relevant blog posts from around the web. Each content item is displayed in a different pane and when you select a particular pane, a “Share Now” and a “Share Later” button appear.
What I really appreciate about Swayy is that it emails me a “daily dose” of relevant content. Also, it often shows me content from sources that I wasn’t aware of. Basically, I’ve used it for uncovering new content rather than for curation.
Tweriod, a free Twitter support tool (in case you didn’t guess), helps you tweet when your followers are actually listening. It analyzes both your tweets and your followers’ last 200 tweets. Based on when they tweet each day, the tool lets you know the best times to tweet so you have a good chance of reaching your followers.
The tool warns you that results may take an hour or two depending on how many followers your Twitter account has. I got an email notification when the report was ready.
As I mentioned, I’m planning to add to this list over time, so you might want to revisit this post. And if you have suggestions on what to add, let me know!